I just realized that it's Part Thirty, we're in book four, and the most progress we've made in the main "save Earth through clean energy" plot was a car race thirty pages ago.
Gris and Utanc spend two days in the hotel room having Sexy Time, so that Gris is physically exhausted and barely able to lift the spoon of his breakfast bowl of ice cream... hmm. Heller keeps eating sundaes. Gris likes to start the morning with ice cream. I guess Hubbard liked ice cream too. No surprise, everybody likes ice cream. Except diabetics, the lactose intolerant, and people with sensitive teeth.
All that to say, Gris concludes that after two days of nothing out of the ordinary (aside from the fact that Utanc is having physical contact with him), perhaps it's possible that Terb didn't talk while under torture, and GUNSALMO SILVA! might not be out to kill him after all. Utanc is getting bored at any rate, and gets all minked up to hit Tiffany's. Gris offers her a pearl-handled "Remington Double Derringer"... those stopped being made in 1935. Why the hell did Gris have an antique miniature handgun in a cabinet in his hotel room? Why can't he find a modern firearm that's just as concealable?
There's that magic number again: 1930. The decade of Hubbard's youth. The source of so many bizarre elements in this story, things that the author obviously likes but are so out of place that they bring the narrative to a momentary halt while the reader boggles at them.
Anyway. Utanc refuses to take the gun, Gris tells Utanc to be careful with the money, she shows off a purse stuffed with cash, and Gris concludes she's a real "manager," setting us up for a future plot point. Gris decides to enhance his own funding by hitting Rockecenter Plaza (geddit it's like Rockefeller Plaza except satire) and the Petty Cash window at the Octopus Oil building. But something is amiss. The former teller Miss Grabball (wow) retired the other day, and the new teller is Miss Pinch.
In just about seventy pages from now, Miss Pinch is going to help take this story to terrifying new places, places you probably never expected nor wanted it to go.
Miss Pinch tells Gris that his ID isn't listed, and when the computer turns up blank she doesn't take it as proof that he's a proper spy. But she's nice enough to let Gris flee before using the riot gun built into the counter. Mr. Bury's out, so Gris can't find help there, and without any other options he goes back home, i.e. his hotel room. He briefly considers robbing a bank and tries to contact Raht for advice, only to learn that his lackey is in the hospital with pneumonia, so Gris watches TV instead.
The fake Whiz Kid is on "The Benighted Show" with Donny Fartson, Jr. This is apparently clever satire. I'm not sure about what, but Hubbard gave a character the name Fart-son, so not only is it insightful but it's also hilarious. The phoney cracks a joke about the Big Apple being full of worms, and Gris is worried when the crowd laughs at him instead of throwing rotten eggs. He tries to call Madison but the line is busy, so Gris goes to bed.
So to summarize this chapter... uh, Gris didn't get shot by Silva. And we're introduced to a character we're really going to regret meeting.
Back to Chapter Six